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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 06-10-12, 12:13 PM   #1
balindamood 
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Cadence issues/different sized timing gears

My partner and I have have always had issues riding together because my comfortable cadence is about 20% faster than hers. We have tried in-phase and out-of-phase cranks, and it doesn't seem to improve the situation.

I am toying with the idea of swapping out her 36-too timing gear for a 42, wile leaving mine a 36, the idea that I can spin and she can troll along. Neither of us are heavy mashers and have a relatively smooth stroke. Has anyone tried this??
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Old 06-10-12, 02:18 PM   #2
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Unless you can coast independently to get the cranks aligned when needed, then you may end up with problems in cornering and obstacle clearances when you become 180 degrees out of phase.
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Old 06-10-12, 03:43 PM   #3
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Your next tandem . . .daVinci!
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Old 06-10-12, 03:45 PM   #4
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As you may know cadence differences between captain and stoker are a common problem and probably the most difficult compromise for new tandem teams. Often it is the captain that has a faster cadence. When we were working through the problem we found the that differing timing ring sizes was thought by most to be a bad idea. We eventually went to shorter cranks for the stoker to speed her cadence and that along with both parties changing a little solved the issue. Another approach is to use longer cranks for the captain to slow his cadence.

Often the problem resolves itself if the team rides enough miles. Now that we have been riding a tandem for a few years my stoker pretty much has the same cadence as I do.

If you decide to try it, all the Out Of Phase issues would need to be considered. A search for OOP should provide lots of information. I am always interested in novel solutions so please let us know the results if you try differing sync chain rings.

Last edited by waynesulak; 06-10-12 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 06-10-12, 04:03 PM   #5
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Judy and I will add to Wayne's comment, I always am faster as well, but we get more together (same cadence) as the season progresses and...by the third day of a long ride, we are the same.
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Old 06-10-12, 04:35 PM   #6
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I did have different size timing gears on our tandem when it was set up as a kid-back just as a result of using the crankset parts that I had available. But in that case there were no pedal-strike issues when cornering. I would advise against it for two adult riders.

As mentioned above, choosing different crank lengths can frequently solve cadence incompatibility issues. Putting longer cranks on the rider who tends to have the higher cadence will slow down their pedaling while shorter cranks on the other rider will speed them up.
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Old 06-10-12, 05:33 PM   #7
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Your next tandem . . .daVinci!
Not quite. You can coast independently on a DaVinci but you can't pedal at different revs per minute while still both applying power through the drive train.

Granted, DaVinci's design does solve the pedal strike problem that comes from different size transfer rings since both crew members level their pedals independently (by back-pedaling if necessary) no matter where around the clock each was at the time the turn started.
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Old 06-10-12, 07:32 PM   #8
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Agree whole-heartedly regarding shorter cranks. And practice. My husband had a significantly faster cadence than I at first. But now I've caught up and things are great! My cadence on single bike has vastly improved as well.
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Old 06-11-12, 11:50 AM   #9
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Another agreement on shorter stoker cranks and more time. Stoker never complained, but could feel her power drop off when we were over 85. After 3 seasons, no power drop at 95. Captain's longer than usual cranks slow us a little anyway, so we mostly cruise at about 85.
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Old 06-11-12, 03:00 PM   #10
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We have found shorter cranks for Madame Stoker to be a good step in the right direction. We just switched from 175 cranks all the way around to 170s for her and 175s for me and it definitely helps.

Not perfect, mind you, since my comfortable cadence is 80 to 95 with a max of about 110: Hers is 70 to 80 with a max of about 95. So we compromise. She spins a little faster than is comfortable for her when we are winding up at the base of a hill. I spin a little slower than I would like on the flats and especially when running downhill in high gear.
Brent
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Old 06-11-12, 03:47 PM   #11
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After 37+ years of tandeming 'compromise' still works!
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Old 06-11-12, 05:41 PM   #12
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We have found shorter cranks for Madame Stoker to be a good step in the right direction. We just switched from 175 cranks all the way around to 170s for her and 175s for me and it definitely helps.

Not perfect, mind you, since my comfortable cadence is 80 to 95 with a max of about 110: Hers is 70 to 80 with a max of about 95. So we compromise. She spins a little faster than is comfortable for her when we are winding up at the base of a hill. I spin a little slower than I would like on the flats and especially when running downhill in high gear.
Brent
Exactly!
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